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1975 The Steel Curtain Falls on The Vikings
Dan Jenkins
February 15, 2006
A dominant defense led to a victory in Pittsburgh's Super Bowl debut
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February 15, 2006

1975 The Steel Curtain Falls On The Vikings

A dominant defense led to a victory in Pittsburgh's Super Bowl debut

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And now, for an encore, the Pittsburgh Steelers' defense will pick up Tulane Stadium and throw it into the middle of Bourbon Street. L.C. Greenwood, or perhaps Mean Joe Greene, will swallow what is left of Fran Tarkenton in a crawfish bisque. Why not? They have already enjoyed dining on the Minnesota running game--has anyone tasted Chuck Foreman's jersey lately?--and making Vikings fly this way and that through the frozen gray sky over New Orleans.

In the 16-6 Super Bowl IX victory on Jan. 12, 1975, the Steelers' defense was so magnificent that the Vikings' offense never scored a single point, except two for Pittsburgh. The Steel Curtain was so much in control that the Vikings gained only 17 yards. Tarkenton went to the air early and stayed there, not that it did him much good. Rolling to his right to evade the defenders who kept swarming after him, he threw 27 times and completed just 11. Three of his passes were intercepted, four were deflected and many were hurried.

With defense like this, it was inevitable that the game would have a lot of insane turnaround plays. How about a safety, which made it 2-0 Pittsburgh at halftime? Tarkenton, on his own 10, faked a quick pitchout and tried to hand off to Dave Osborn on a dive. But the ball either hit Foreman's hip or Foreman's hip hit the ball, and the next thing anybody knew Tarkenton was scrambling--after the ball, which was scooting toward the end zone--and being pursued by every Steeler but Art Rooney. Fran prevented a Pittsburgh touchdown by recovering the ball and sliding across the goal line with it for a safety.

Pittsburgh did what it had to do on defense, and a couple of guys on offense-- Terry Bradshaw and Franco Harris--did what they had to. Harris continually tore away at the Vikings en route to gaining 158 yards on 34 carries to break Larry Csonka's Super Bowl records of 145 and 33. And it was Terry who saved the day. With the score 9-6 and more than 10 minutes remaining, he took Pittsburgh 66 yards in an 11-play scoring drive that consumed more than seven minutes and ended all real hope for Minnesota. In all, Bradshaw hit on 9 of 14 for 96 yards and said afterward, "I've looked at all sides--being a hero and being a jerk. I think I can handle this very well."